Neither the Indianapolis Colts nor the St. Louis Rams has beaten the NFL odds this preseason. Will at least one of these teams take Saturday's matchup seriously?
Every once in a while here at the ranch, we make a football pick that we almost expect to lose. It's usually a case where the trends say one thing, but the situation on the ground says another, and we stubbornly stick with the numbers. That's what we had going on last week when Ken Whisenhunt (then 9-20-1 ATS in the preseason) and the Tennessee Titans hosted the St. Louis Rams. Given his best quarterback depth since his early days with Arizona, Whisenhunt and the Titans ignored history and beat St. Louis 27-14 as 3-point favorites.
This doesn't absolve the Rams for their performance. Their starting offense was stuck in the mud, as QB Nick Foles was held to 18 yards on 3-of-7 passing while coughing up a return touchdown to Titans CB Perrish Cox. Things have to improve considerably if St. Louis is going to go into our NFL picks this Saturday (8:00 p.m. ET) when the Indianapolis Colts come to town as 1.5-point underdogs.
None of Them Along the Line
The Rams made the interesting choice this spring to send QB Sam Bradford to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for Foles. Bradford has only started seven games the past two years, and Foles did have that one remarkable season in 2013 when he threw 27 touchdown passes and just two picks. However, Foles regressed toward the mean last year, putting up 13 TDs with 10 interceptions while missing half the season with a broken collarbone.
So who is the “real” Nick Foles? Probably closer to the one we saw last year, although it was tougher on Foles with so many of his star offensive linemen limited by injuries and suspensions. One of the hidden reasons things got better for Philly after Mark Sanchez took over for Foles was the return of center Jason Kelce, LT Jason Peters and RT Lane Johnson.
This is where things get troubling for Foles and his new employers. St. Louis has a young offensive line that lost its most experienced starter when LG Rodger Saffold hurt his right shoulder in the preseason opener against the Oakland Raiders. This isn't the same shoulder that Saffold had surgery on during the offseason, but it's still bad enough to keep him on the shelf for now.
The good news for the Rams is that they're hosting a Colts team that's also 0-2 SU and ATS after two exhibition games. Chuck Pagano was a neutral 6-6 SU and ATS in the preseason coming into 2015, but his offensive line has been shaky this year, too. Acquiring former Eagles OL Todd Herremans looks like a case of subtraction by addition. We're more pessimistic about the St. Louis line, but with the Colts the way they are, let's bet that this game will fall short of the number offered on the NFL odds boards.
Free NFL Pick: Take UNDER 43 at BetOnline